Sometimes it is necessary to revisit basic principles. We get so involved in being deep thinkers and speakers that we leave out some basic things. When I coach sports I always hammer basic fundamentals. Today, we are trying to avoid the basics of sin by changing the name of it. We avoid calling it sin, so we call it "freedom of choice" or "alternate lifestyle" or "convenience" and in doing that we change the word grace to fit our new look at sin. We change the word grace to "free pass." That leaves us with a free pass to a freedom of choice or an alternate lifestyle or to live conveniently. Today, I want to point out that we can change the names of many terms but we are doing that because we do not understand the basics of sin, like where sin started, what it is, etc.. I read a quote and I thought it was very relevant to this subject and it goes like this, "I covet no phraseology that lends respectability to sin. The sorest injury we can do a man is to lighten his conception of the enormity of sin."~J.H. Howet I must add here that we can't sugar coat sin, but we can and should expose it as loving as possible! Remember, a liar is as evil as a raping murderer in the eyes of God. You don't have to burn down the place the congregation gathers to be a sinner.
Sin started in the Garden of Eden. Mankind became a sinner because they heard, believed, and obeyed a lie that was preached to them by Satan through the serpent. Gen 3:1-8 Eve was deceived because the lies that were preached to her was mixed with some truth. That is happening today as well. Except Satan is using well dressed, articulate, and intelligent men and women to preach his lies mixed with truth. Adam and Eve were given a simple and plain command that they chose to disobey. That disobedience brought sin into the world. Which brought death, or separation from God, into the world. Gen 2:17
Let's look at a few words that are translated sin to understand what sin is. First, sin is lawlessness. One word translated lawlessness means to break, violate, or reject God's law. Sin is to be in opposition of and disregard God's law. 1Jn 3:4 This is exactly what we see in the actions of Adam and Eve. Remember there was only one tree forbidden tree in that entire garden. The command was simple and clear "you shall not eat." You have to hire someone to help you misunderstand that! God provided a way for them to be saved forever in the tree of life, but He also allowed Adam and Eve to have the freedom of choice: loyalty or disloyalty, obedience or disobedience, life or death. He is doing the same today. He has provided a way for us to be saved forever through Jesus Christ, but He is allowing us to choose from the same choices. This test of loyalty definitely didn't cause the disloyalty. This test of obedience didn't cause the disobedience. The disloyalty and disobedience came from a rebellion of Adam and Eve that started in their hearts! The eating of that fruit, or disloyalty and disobedience, was just a display of what is their hearts.
Second, sin is a transgression of God's law. This word that is translated transgression means to go over or beyond God's law. It is disregarding the boundaries between right and wrong. This is the word that the elder brother of the prodigal son uses when he is voicing his complaint to his father. Lk 15:29 This is what we do when we try to change the meaning of the grace.
Third, sin is missing the mark. The word translated sin literally means a missing of the mark. Vine's says this word sin is an inward element producing acts. That is why I say Adam and Eve's sin started in their hearts. The mark that is missed is God's mark. All mankind has missed the mark and fallen short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23
I read one time, I believe it was Barclay, and he was discussing the difference between sins of commission and sins of omission. I want you to know that sin is not just avoiding the wrong, but it is also not doing the right! We can avoid all the bad and never do any good! That is just as sinful as doing the bad and wrong in God's eyes! James says as much in Jas 4:17
Sin is selfish and that is its essential principle. The chief characteristic of love is giving. No matter what it cost ourselves. The chief characteristic of sin is the exact opposite. It is getting, no matter what it costs others. Sin is very alluring. It has an appealing characteristic to it. It is very charming and fascinating because it is filled with pleasure. Often times sin can feel great. That pleasure may be short lived but is still alluring. It makes me think of a bug zapper. I can never figure out how so many bugs fly into that light to their death. That light is so alluring to bugs that just can't resist. I would look around see all my dead buddies and say, "Forget this. I'm outta here!" Really... I look around and see my buddies now filled with sin and far too often I fail to say, "Forget this. I'm outta here." The biggest reason is because sin is also deceitful. Sin shows off all its pleasure but disguises its pain, shame, and consequences. That is exactly what Satan did to Eve! He listed all the advantages but disguised the consequences and pain of sin. Satan is a barter, who bargains with things he doesn't have! That is what he tried with Jesus. Mt 4:1-11 Satan wants us to think of sin as something beautiful and pleasureful. The beer commercials do the same thing today. Their product will cause you to do dumb and costly things. It will make you extremely sick. It will cause to loose memories of what you did. It could even kill you. Yet, their commercials never communicate that. All we see is fun, pleasure, and beautiful people. If we are not careful sin will make us its slave. Rom 6:16
Sin separates us from God. Isa 59:2 It brings suffering. Eve suffered in childbearing, Adam suffered in labor, the earth suffered in what it produced, and Satan suffered with his head being crushed. Everything and anything suffers when sin enters the picture! Sin also brings death, both physical and spiritual. It may have took over 900 years for Adam's resulting death from sin to catch him, but it did. Cemeteries all over the place are a reminder that sin resulted in a physical death. Paul reminds us of the spiritual death that sin produces. 2Th 1:7-9
Thank you Lord for providing a cure from this sin in Jesus Christ! Rom 5:8-12
He died for our sins, by His wounds we are healed, and He destroyed death and brought life! 1Co 15:3; 1Pe 2:24; 2Ti 1:10 Thank you Jesus! His blood provides our redemption and forgiveness in accordance with God's grace. Eph 1:7
The cure is provided all we must do is partake. Antibiotics can't help you if you do not take them. Christ can't help if you do not obey Him. Obedience to the Gospel is a must. God did His part and now we must do ours. Those at Pentecost understood this and asked, "What should we do?" Saul understood this and said, "What will you have me do?" Today, are you ready to let go of sin in your life that is separating you from God and ask the same question as Saul and those at Pentecost? Sin is not an alternate lifestyle or permissible due to convenience. It is separating you from God and eternity with Him.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22